It is truly tragic that many people that expect to enter heaven, people that are hopeful and relishing spending eternity with God, will be excluded. They will not be excluded because of some technical hitch, or some ambiguous arising; like being refused entry into a country because your passport runs out shortly, or you do not possess a required document; like a vaccination certificate. As we shall see, God does not deal with technicalities and ambiguities.
It is sobering that the Bible has mentioned this very situation a number of times, not that it needs to, but as if to remind people that this is a matter to be taken seriously.
The most significant scripture in the Bible, that shows us, that not everyone that says lord, lord, will enter, is found in the parable of the 10 virgins, and here is the relevant verses.
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not." (Matthew 25:1-12)
The parable of the 10 virgins makes it very clear, that some who are expecting to enter the kingdom, will be excluded, and they will be stunned, when the Master says, "I know you not."
Some people are adamant that we will all end up the same place anyway; just live an okay kind of life, don't hurt anybody and you'll be fine. In other words, fate will see you enter, but this view is mistaken: "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." (Isaiah 35:8). This highway unerringly leads to heaven, and some, like the unclean, will be excluded.
A final scripture will suffice to show that some people, with high expectation, will be denied entry, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23)
All of these scriptures combine, and they do so convincingly, to show that some people are going to be bitterly disappointed, since they were expecting entry, only to find at the death, they were abruptly turned away. This will be for many the saddest, most shocking moment of their entire existence.
So, it is clear as can be, that not everyone that says lord, lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven and spend eternity with God. The big, vital question then, as it is important for us to know, for our own sake, is this. Can we know now, who are the ones saying, lord, lord, that will not enter?
The object here is not to judge anybody, it is not for us to point at anyone, (even Jesus Christ did not come to judge people) but to have a good look at ourselves in the light of God's word, and to trim our sails accordingly. Remember what the Bible tells us, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God..." (1 Peter 4:17) and Paul, agreeing with this pointed out, "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." (1 Corinthians 11:31)
It would be wise for us to start with those who are NOT meant here.
There are many people, among them politicians, who routinely cry lord, lord, who care zilch about God, but merely use his name to garnish votes, or sell some product, or whatever. These people are like a car thief that put on a stolen number plate on his stolen vehicle so that it may pass police scrutiny. These people are blasphemous sinners, and tricksters, and make no pretence of godly living. These are hell-bound and don't care, they know it, and so does everyone else, and they neither seek, nor want, to enter the kingdom of God.
Hypocrites in the church are not meant either. The type of hypocrite I am referring to here is the one that comes into the church, with a hidden agenda, goes through all the motions required for membership, but has no intentions of loving and serving God. As a member, he then wrecks havoc among the membership, its finances, its gullible women folk or men folk and, sometimes, can carry on in this manner for years. He may even end up as the church pastor. This type of person is unconverted, and in no way expects to enter God's kingdom.
We must not think, for a moment, that those who will be denied entry to God's kingdom will all be strangers. No, not at all, some may be friends, or family members or even fellow worshippers; and each and every case will be regrettable and very sad.
The hopeful ones, who will be hugely disappointed, are those who have deluded themselves that they were on the right tract, and despite all the warnings, and the red flags, and the compelling evidence that they should reconsider their standing with God, they nevertheless clung to their erroneous positions.
Who are these people?
1. They are the moralist outside the church; steeped in their bloated self-righteousness.
2. They are the clueless inside the church; who seem to have outsourced their conscience to the leader, it's alright because our pastor says so.
3. They are the bench-warmers; that thinks church association equates to salvation.
4. They are the wilfully disobedient, like the racist pretending to be Christian, but hateful in heart and dead in spirit.
5. They are the pastors, and bogus leaders, preaching from their lips what they reject in their living.
6. They are those who know what God can and can't do (they know a lot of scriptures), and may even perform some minor miracles; but their lives are contrary.
7. They are those who outwardly displays belief in God, but secretly enjoy doing wrong, and all with the idea that somehow God will overlook their sins, and grant them entry into heaven; because we are all sinners aren't we?
All these fail the ultimate test, because God is not impressed with high blown rhetoric and good intentions and sincere unawareness. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "There is nothing in all the world more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." When people stand before the White Throne Judgment, they will be judged solely on their deeds, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God... and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Revelation 20:12)
It does not matter what you think, neither what your teachers and pastors have inculcated into you, nor your standing in the society, if your works do not pass the fire test you will be excluded from heaven.
Remember the fire test, for every man's work will be fire tested, and the things that you have done, that you thought were so eminent and laudable, that you were so proud of, will be subjected, at last, to divine testing. "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." (1 Corinthians 3:13)
God does not make errors, and if you find that when you arrive, and expect entry in God's kingdom, you are denied, then know that God does not know you. And because of that, your name was not entered in the Lamb's book of life. The Bible tells us this, "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27)
True believers, those who in all humility and conscience serves God faithfully, understands the magnitude of their calling in Christ. They are always conscious of and dependent on God, and his grace, but even so takes nothing for granted, and continually pray, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139: 23-24)
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013
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